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Liquidity, access to credit are most serious concerns in real estate

Sharon Waters and Evelyn Lee NJBIZ
Gil Medina moderated the panel discussion.

Gil Medina moderated the panel discussion.

WOODBRIDGE — Liquidity and access to credit remain the most serious concerns in the state’s real estate industry, according to a panel of experts representing the commercial, distribution, retail and residential sectors at today’s NJBIZ Real Estate Symposium.

“It’s all about liquidity, and finding your way out of that penalty box,” said Ron Ladell, vice president of development at AvalonBay Communities Inc. Ladell said the apartment rental company was not overleveraged, and argued AvalonBay would be in a good position when the recession ends, because housing supply “has fallen off a cliff.”

Both the cost and availability of capital are challenges in the industry now, said Mitchell Hersh, president and chief executive officer of Edison-based Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

“The key right now is to be able to make it through this period of uncertainty,” said Hersh, speaking about the industry as a whole. “Unfortunately, through that period of time, there will be lots of victims.”

Hersh said his company has built a solid balance sheet and solid portfolio with an occupancy rate of between 90 percent and 91 percent. Mack-Cali will have opportunities because of its liquidity, Hersh said.


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